The Big Shift: Impressions vs. Engagements

November 5, 2013 / By

Brands activating in the digital and social sphere has become the norm. One of the emerging challenges marketers face is making a direct correlation between social campaigns and R.O.I. Are social activations worth the capital investment? Traditionally marketers have looked at impression numbers to measure campaign performance. Brands have been using impressions to measure social efforts including branded content campaigns. Impressions as a metric was born out of traditional PR, when print was king.

Does it make sense to use a 20th C. metric to determine the value of a campaign in the 21st C. digital ecosystem? Many brands have moved on, and now include sophisticated analytics in their measurement mix. Still, why are a lot of marketing professionals still hung up on the impression numbers? It’s simple. The number 10 million sounds a lot more impressive to a client or stakeholder than 3,000.

This is where a digital professional comes in to offer strategic counsel. We can steer brands in the right direction by showcasing quantifiable actions and engagements, while driving online conversion towards brand advocacy and social sharing. These metrics are quantifiable, unlike rather the “potential eyeballs” that constitute impressions. If you engage the consumer, they will remember your brand beyond the conversation, and possibly all the way through to conversion and point of purchase.

Determining how to fully measure the value of social engagements is complicated and there is no “magic bullet” – yet.  What is clear is that while traditional measurement metrics have a place in any marketing mix, only valuing impressions completely ignore the ‘social’ part of social media. This can cause a gross undervaluation of the impact that effective social media marketing can have.

What metrics does your brand find value in?

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